The molecular record of metabolic activity in the subsurface of the Río Tinto Mars analog
EntityUAM. Departamento de Biología Molecular
PublisherMary Ann Liebert
10.1089/ast.2020.2431Astrobiology 21.11 (2021): 1387-1405
ISSN1531-1074 (print); 1557-8070 (online)
SubjectsAcidithiobacillus; Microorganisms; Acid Mine Drainage; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© David C Fernández-Remolar et al., 2021; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2021
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
In the subsurface, the interplay between microbial communities and the surrounding mineral substrate, potentially used as an energy source, results in different mineralized structures. The molecular composition of such structures can record and preserve information about the metabolic pathways that have produced them. To characterize the molecular composition of the subsurface biosphere, we have analyzed some core samples by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) that were collected in the borehole BH8 during the operations of the Mars Analog and Technology Experiment (MARTE) project. The molecular analysis at a micron-scale mapped the occurrence of several inorganic complexes bearing PO3-, SOx(2to4)-, NOx(2,3)-, FeOx(1,2)- SiO2-, and Cl-. Their distribution correlates with organic molecules that were tentatively assigned to saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, saccharides, phospholipids, sphingolipids, and potential peptide fragments. SOx- appear to be mineralizing some microstructures larger than 25 microns, which have branched morphologies, and that source SO3-bearing adducts. PO3-rich compounds occur in two different groups of microstructures which size, morphology, and composition are different. While a group of >40-micron sized circular micronodules lacks organic compounds, an ovoidal microstructure is associated with m/z of other lipids. The NO2-/NO3- and Cl- ions occur as small microstructure clusters (<20 microns), but their distribution is dissimilar to the mineralized microstructures bearing PO3-, and SO3-. However, they have a higher density in areas with more significant enrichment in iron oxides that are traced by different Fe-bearing anions like FeO2-. The distribution of the organic and inorganic negative ions, which we suggest, resulted from the preservation of at least three microbial consortia (PO4-, and NO2-/NO3-mineralizers PO4-lipid bearing microstructures), would have resulted from different metabolic and preservation pathways
Google Scholar:Fernández-Remolar, David C. - Gomez-Ortiz, David - Huang, Ting - Anglés, Angélica - Shen, Yan - Hu, Qitao - Amils Pibernat, Ricardo - Rodríguez, Nuria - Escudero, Cristina - Banerjee, Neil R.
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